So I did it. I actually bought a cheapo Android phone (Simvalley SP-60) with dual-SIM feature, because that’s the single most important feature of a phone for me.
Of course I went immediately to the privacy settings to turn off all kinds of synchronization options. However, it turned out that this wasn’t really needed until after I had entered the details of a (newly created) Google account. Honestly, why do I have to store my contacts on a Google server in order to get them into my phone? Sorry, but this is ridiculous. Having that option may be nice, but being forced to go this route is kind of scary given the market power of Google. So they don’t just want to know just about everything about all kinds of habits through your search terms, the documents you write and the emails you send and receive, now they also want the offline contacts as well.
The only alternative, I hear, is to “root” my phone. This is exactly what I’m going to do once back in Iceland, because I find it an unsettling thought that Google is collecting all this data. I want to be able to edit my contacts offline and to use my phone the way mobile phones used to work, while having a small portable wireless-capable machine available if the need be.
For now I’m back to the Nokia C2-00.